Suffolk is a large, rural, coastal county with below average numbers entering higher education. The original mission of the University of Suffolk was to encourage more people from across the county to continue with their studies.
One way of doing this has been through building relationships with businesses and the local community to identify skills gaps and potential opportunities for collaboration—fuelling the adoption of vocational courses and producing more ‘work-ready’ candidates to boost the local economy.
These collaborations, with organisations outside of the traditional academic environment, prompted the University of Suffolk to review its existing Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) provider. The need to maintain a close relationship with students who are working remotely as well as with businesses that have different working methods and requirements, meant that the University needed a solution that could facilitate a blended learning approach.
Ellen Buck, Director of Learning and Teaching at the University of Suffolk explains: “We needed to reach people that were out in the field learning but were also still very much part of our university life. To achieve this, we sought a partner that understood the nuances of modern learning and could support our efforts to provide a more personalised learning experience.”
As well as supporting learning, Ellen and her team required a platform that could also be used to enhance staff development: “We wanted a platform that could be used as a continuous personal development (CPD) hub—whether training is being delivered by IT, HR or elsewhere, the solution needed to bring departments together to create an individual learning and development resource.”